“In my experience growing up with navigators. They’ve been powerful men and women. Their leadership knows no bounds.”
Two explorers met in the desert to lose themselves and find their way back again, to learn from each other, and swap adventure stories. Austin Kino of the south side of Oahu is accustomed to tracking swells and wind patterns—he’s a crewmember on the legendary Hawaiian sailing canoe, Hōkūle‘a, where he learned the art of navigating without the aid of technology. Ben Horton has ventured far and wide—from the Arctic to southeast Asia—as a National Geographic photographer. Where he always returns though—his place of refuge—is Joshua Tree.
The blazing California desert may be the last place you’d expect to stumble onto aloha. Jagged rock crevices, spiky trees, and no water in sight—it’s hard to imagine a landscape more different than the islands. The stars that reveal the maps of the night sky though are the same in both places. As the sky darkened, Austin showed Ben how to find south by following the line made by the tips of a crescent moon to the horizon. The most basic things are universal.
“Being able to understand your place and where you are in relation to your environment, in the cosmos, that’s really something,” said Austin, surrounded by the towering boulders of Joshua Tree. The night sky has stories, they’re just told differently all over the world. Sharing traditional knowledge anywhere in the world—under the same moon that shines down on us all—that’s aloha.